New York Governor Cuomo announces plan to build $3.9 billion new Terminal 6 at JFK International Airport

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JFK Millenium Partners – Terminal 6 Redevelopment Project
  • Major New International Terminal Will Connect to JetBlue’s Existing Terminal 5
  • Port Authority and Private Partners Succeed in Finding Way to Restructure New Post-COVID Deal
  • Extensive Private Investment in JFK Preserved Despite Severe Impact of Pandemic on Air Travel; City’s Extension of Airport Lease Critical to Restructured Deal
  • Advances Governor’s JFK Vision Plan for a Unified, Modern Airport with World-Class Passenger Amenities, Expanded Taxiway and Gate Capacity, State-of-the-Art Security and Streamlined Roadway Access 
  • Groundbreaking Anticipated in 2022; First New Gates Will Go Live in 2025
  • Includes 30 Percent MWBE Goal for Contracts and Financing Interests; Extensive Opportunities for Local Business and Job-Seekers Will Be Bolstered by Community Office Which Opened in 2019

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has reached a revised agreement on key terms with JFK Millennium Partners – including JetBlue Airways, the operator of John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 5 – to build a state-of-the-art new international Terminal 6 that will anchor the north side of the airport.  The project was initially supposed to break ground in 2020.  The extraordinary level of private investment had been threatened by the impact of the COVID-19 on air travel and future projections for the industry. The restructured deal marks a major step forward in the ambitious plan to transform JFK into a unified 21st-century global gateway and is a testament to the partners’ commitment to the future of the airport and New York.

Subject to Board approval this week, the Port Authority will finalise and enter into a lease agreement with JMP for the construction of the $3.9 billion, 1.2 million square foot new terminal. The full $3.9 billion expense of building the terminal will be privately financed by the JFK Millennium Partners consortium. It will be built on the sites of the former Terminal 6, which was demolished in 2011, and the ageing Terminal 7, which will be torn down after British Airways relocates to Terminal 8.

The transformation of JFK Airport into a world-class gateway is another distinct testament to New York’s comeback and to our determination to build back better,” Governor Cuomo said. “This historic private investment will not only fortify New York’s reputation as our nation’s front door to the world, but also sets an example for how this country can tackle bold infrastructure projects that will jumpstart our economy with thousands of good-paying jobs even amid profound challenges like the pandemic.”

The new terminal will connect to Terminal 5 and be equipped with the capacity for ten new gates, as well as bright and airy check-in halls and arrival spaces designed to enhance the customer experience. Customers will enjoy more than 100,000 square feet of commercial dining and retail amenities, lounges, and recreational spaces. The new terminal will also incorporate the latest advances in both sustainability and security, infused with the partners’ renowned customer experience, operational excellence, and a uniquely New York sense of place.  Construction of the new terminal is scheduled to begin in mid-2022 and the first new gates are scheduled to open in 2025.

Today’s announcement follows the Governor’s announcement in October 2018 of the Port Authority entering into exclusive negotiations for the development of two major new international terminals, one each on the airport’s north and south sides, that would lead the transformation of JFK and increase the airport’s capacity by at least 15 million passengers a year annually to accommodate projected growth in the decades ahead. The start of these public-private partnerships was delayed and threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic’s severe impact on air travel.  Passenger volumes at JFK declined by as high as 98 percent during the height of the pandemic in 2020 and have only recently increased to levels that still remain 25-30 percent down from pre-pandemic figures.  The uncertain timing of air travel’s recovery impacts the ability of private investment to cost-effectively finance the project. Today’s announcement reflects a significant vote of confidence by the private sector in the future of JFK Airport and its importance to both New York and the global travel industry. The City of New York’s ten-year emergency extension of the master lease for JFK Airport, which had been set to expire in 2050, was critical to the restructuring of the deal with JMP. That extension provided the flexibility necessary to maintain the significant level of private investment by providing the investors with sufficient time after the new terminal opens to recover their multi-billion-dollar investments.

The financial impact of the COVID-19 is projected to result in a $3 billion revenue loss for the Port Authority over the course of 24 months from March 2020 to March 2022, significantly impacting its ability to proceed with its historic $37 billion capital plan to rebuild, revitalize and maintain critical infrastructure assets across the region in the time originally planned.

This week, the Port Authority Board will be asked to authorize $130 million to build enabling infrastructure for the project, including airside improvements, and utility enhancements such as electrical support for the project, part of the agency’s previously allocated capital to the redevelopment of JFK. Despite the steep financial consequences of the pandemic, the Port Authority’s $130 million contribution to the Terminal 6 project will go forward, pending board approval, given the leverage of nearly $4 billion in private financing to construct the new terminal. The agency’s project-by-project review of its capital plan continues.

The development of Terminal 6 is expected to result in over 4,000 direct jobs and direct payroll wages of $1.9 billion. The total economic activity impact from the project, including indirect effects such as the local market participation of employees of suppliers, amounts to nearly $2.8 billion in total wages and $6.3 billion in total economic activity.

JMP is a private consortium comprised of JetBlue Airways, New York’s Hometown Airline® and the largest carrier operating at JFK; Vantage Airport Group, an industry-leading investor, developer and manager of award-winning global airport projects, including as a member of the consortium that built LaGuardia Airport’s new Terminal B; American Triple I (ATI), a 100 percent minority- and woman-owned investor, owner, developer, and manager of infrastructure assets and infrastructure-focused companies that seek to spur economic growth and development in markets across the U.S.; and RXR Realty, a leading New York-based real estate operating and development company. ATI’s investment is notable not only in that continues the state’s trend of MWBE firms creating wealth by investing in such a major public-private partnership (beyond the provision of goods and services), but doing so at the 30 percent level, which is both historic and nation-leading.

The passenger facilities at the new Terminal 6 will feature significantly larger waiting areas with high ceilings, natural light and modern architecture coupled with interior green space, exhibits and art featuring iconic New York landmarks and local artists. World-class retail, restaurants and bars will include locally-based restaurateurs, craft beverage options and Taste NY stores. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi and an abundance of charging stations throughout the terminals will enable passengers to stay connected at each step of their journey.

Additional state-of-the-art technology will further improve the customer experience and security in the new terminal and will include elements such as touchless passenger journey, digital passenger flow and queue management, automated TSA security lanes, advanced video search analytics, biometric-based access control systems and a flexible design to accommodate future technology and/or regulatory changes.

Sustainability enhancements will include various carbon emissions reductions through the use of renewable energy technologies such as a solar hot water system, aircraft de-icing and fluid recovery, and electric ground service equipment supporting the transition of its ground service fleet – such as baggage tractors and belt loaders – to electric powered.

The new Terminal 6 will connect to and be seamlessly integrated with the existing T5, including the eventual consolidation of international arrivals facilities, and by consolidating a distinct taxi plaza as well as designate for-hire vehicle pick-up areas with T5.  These changes will not only create a world-class experience for the new Terminal 6 passengers but will also substantially reduce traffic congestion on the T5 road frontage.

The Governor’s JFK Vision Plan, initially unveiled in January 2017 and based on the recommendations from the Governor’s Airport Advisory Panel, calls for an overhaul of the airport’s hodgepodge of eight disparate terminal sites into one unified JFK Airport by demolishing old terminals, utilising vacant space, and modernising on-airport infrastructure, while incorporating the latest in passenger amenities and technological innovations. The Vision Plan also calls for increasing the number and size of gates, improving parking availability, an array of airside taxiway improvements to allow for more efficient planes and reduced gate congestion, upgrading the AirTrain JFK system to handle increased passenger capacity, and enhanced roadways on and off the airport. This includes better access to JFK from regional roadways, particularly the Van Wyck Expressway and the Grand Central Parkway, including the Kew Gardens Interchange.

Plans for the new Terminal 6 build on the momentum of major components of the airport’s transformation, including the $1.5 billion expansion of Terminal 4, led by Delta and JFK International Air Terminal, which was approved by the Port Authority’s Board in April. Additionally, work began in December 2019 on the $344 million expansion of JFK’s Terminal 8, led by American Airlines, which operates the terminal, and British Airways, which will be relocating to Terminal 8 from Terminal 7, set to be demolished to make way for the new Terminal 6.

August 3, 2021

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